Story by Wellington Makonese
A United Kingdom court’s conviction of Citizens Coalition for Change activist, William Chinyanga for terrorism has been described as a stern warning to those bent on destabilising the country.
A precedent set and a stern warning to those bent on destabilising their country.
This is how this Friday’s conviction of a Zimbabwean and Citizens Coalition for Change activist, William Chinyanga for terrorism has been received by local political analysts.
With Chinyanga having been sentenced to three years in prison by a UK court for using cyberspace to encourage terrorism against his government, a political analyst and human rights defender, Ms Abigal Mpambi described the landmark ruling as a good precedent and a reminder that law transcends geographical boundaries.
“We have a lot to learn not only as a country but the geopolitical spectrum. It’s the UK packaging his act as terrorism, he did not take any physical action but online incitement. The law being a law, this is precedence. People need to be reminded that rights cannot be enjoyed while infringing on others’ rights. Twitter brigades and socialites need to know that we remain guided by law,” Mpambi said.
Political commentator, Mr Gibson Nyikadzino, said Chinyanga’s actions have also placed on the spotlight the culture of the opposition party politics.
“We have heard Chamisa calling for a military invasion to remove ZANU PF and we have seen this spilling over. They do not believe in ideas hence they want to export terrorism, but at this point, we have seen the universality of the law. Be it in Zimbabwe or UK, the law remains the law.”
In 2019, the UK-based Chinyanga posted on Facebook a message inciting his audience to bomb and attack soldiers, police stations and officers and the ruling ZANU PF party offices and the offense was unearthed by the UK’s counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit.
His conviction is likely to send shivers amongst the opposition members who in the recent past have used Twitter and other social media platforms to incite violence.
While Chinyanga was charged under the UK’s Terrorism Act, analysts have noted the need to expedite the enactment of the Patriotic Act in Zimbabwe to safeguard national interests.